Having an effective online presence is good branding. It’s also going to be what separates you from your competition over the next few years as social becomes more of a trust factor.
But a solid online presence is also dependent upon understanding trends and expectations in social media. Your online marketing strategy must take into account which social media networks are most popular and which are best suited to your business. In recent years, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ have been the place to be online, but where do you need to be going forward?
Ideally, you would be on as many social media platforms as possible, those listed above plus Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and any number of others. Of course, you need to consider the time and resources that you have to put into your online marketing to determine which networks are most important to your business.
Facebook is the most widely used social media network in the world. It is easy to set up a business page that your customers are able to “like” so that they see everything that you post. When they share your posts, they become visible to their friends, putting your company name in front of hundreds of new prospective clients.
Facebook allows you to create “dark posts” which are visible only to the demographic that you designate, enabling you to utilize personalized marketing messages without inundating your followers.
Log on to Twitter and enter the rapid fire world of microblogging. A company profile will allow clients to “follow” you and view everything you post. Twitter posts are a maximum of 140 characters in length, and it is advisable to post multiple times each day in order to stay on followers’ radar.
Most people are following hundreds of others, and posts fly by, causing infrequent posts to be lost in the crowd. Twitter “retweets” and “favorites” let you see which posts are most effective. You can also use hashtags, and encourage your followers to do the same, to track specific events or topics.
LinkedIn is a social network that is most commonly used by business professionals. A LinkedIn profile has the appearance of a resume, and people are allowed to “endorse” others for job skills that they have indicated that they have.
You can also create company pages that recommend your business and employees can link to you as an employer. Your satisfied customers can post public recommendations, for a personal touch that establishes you as an expert. LinkedIn is the ideal platform to reach young professionals as potential customers.
Google is one of the biggest names online. The Google+ platform is their latest effort to enter the world of social networking. It has taken a few years to take off, but Google+ is finding its niche, especially among entrepreneurs and professionals.
Self-employed professionals, such as writers and designers, use Google+ to connect and share ideas. Features like Hangouts and unlimited photo storage are attracting new accounts each day. Since Google is the most frequently used search engine, it makes sense to have your company profile on their highly visible social media network.
Before creating your company profile on multiple social networks, be certain that you are prepared to properly maintain them and interact with your online friends and followers. A social profile is only an advantage to your marketing strategy if you keep it updated and continue giving people a reason to follow them. Create a schedule of posting and content ideas before creating your profiles to determine that you are ready for the work that it will take to do things effectively.
Quality posts, not just advertising, need to be featured on your profiles. You need to give your clients a reason to follow you and share your posts. That’s where blogging comes in. Getting your message out there on these outposts is what builds your brand over time. Earn your reader’s friendship and trust by sharing and commenting on their posts in return. A well maintained social media profile can increase customer loyalty, increase visibility, and give your sales numbers a boost.